For most invention makers, coming up with the concept is easy after they’ve had their ‘Eureka’ moment; the hard part is what to do afterward. With our 10 years of experience working alongside startups, invention makers and entrepreneurs, we’ve grown accustomed to their way of thinking. That’s why MAKO’s here to help you work through the 5 biggest pain points all invention makers have.
This seems to be the most common pain point we notice our invention makers have. But it’s actually more of a phantom pain point in our eyes, and here’s why. Funding seems daunting when you first start out as an inventor, but there are a plethora of options to gain the backing you need to fund your project. Whether you’re looking at grants, loans or go through a Government funded program, all of these routes are advantageous ways to get your product to market quicker.
But how exactly do you acquire the capital you ask? There are numerous branches of Government that give out grants and loans to fund your research and development to make your new product. The only catch with these grants and loans is that they are often quite specific. Limited to what type of funding is given as well as the type of inventions allowed to apply for them. For instance, the Government of Canada gives out business grants to new businesses to springboard your business ventures. See under ‘Financial support for tech innovations’. As of now, they are accepting new clients, so all Canadian invention makers should get their funding now.
As for American residents, the U.S. Department of Energy awards grants to invention makers who need help developing their environment-friendly innovations. If your innovation can help save energy, they are all for it, #GoGreen2019. Don’t feel left out if your invention isn’t about saving energy though, the U.S. Department of Small Business gives out loans to new small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs who need to get their company off the ground.
If you don’t fall into any of the requirements for these Government loans and grants, try crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, with GoFund Me. It’s free and it’s one of the best ways to not only get funding but also backing for your product and a following before you even launch. There’s also Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.
#2 Finding An Investor
If you’re not looking to begin a small business or startup, but just want to create an invention then finding an investor will be your best shot at success. You will have to put in the work before presenting your intellectual property or innovation to potential investors. Similar to the pitch you would give the Government to receive a grant or loan, you’ll need to get your business model in order for potential investors to see. As well, you’ll need to prove to them they are making an investment. This can be done by doing the hard work prior, like getting the prototype made by a product development company like MAKO. After creating your prototype and everything’s been tested and is working, try selling a few products on your own. All of this will be evidence that consumers want what you’re selling. For invention makers, this gives you a higher chance of success. You want to make it easy for them to say yes to you.
#3 Hiring Engineers or Outsourcing Manufacturing
We understand how important invention makers ideas are to them. This is your baby and we get it. It can be hard to just let go of the reigns and give over control to an outsider. Invention makers have to be humble and open when it comes to discussing their idea with a product development firm like MAKO. We are here to help you and encourage you in the development process. We want you to get to the market just as much as you do. These great invention makers have trusted us and have done just that. See their products we helped them with here.
As scary as it seems, it’s your best chance at taking that idea from a sketch on a napkin to store shelves. We also have you sign an NDA before we discuss anything, as we are here to listen and guide you in the right direction.
#4 Getting A Patent
Here at MAKO, we have multiple resources and connections we can help you with to get you your patent. Read our recent blog post on the entire invention process here. There are 2 types you can get; a provisional patent and the full patent. Provisional just means that for 12-months you’re more on a trial run, whereas the full is when you are completely ready and have tested your product out. Both of these will keep your IP protected. Provisional patents are more for those who are looking for investors and want to sell their idea. The reason we see this as a common pain point invention makers have is because many see it as a slow and complex process. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This plays into wanting to keep all control and not delegate the development and manufacturing processes to professional firms. We get it, it’s your baby. Here at MAKO, as we said before, we have multiple different resources like patent lawyers that we can set you up with. No more worrying dear invention makers.
#5 Getting Onto the Market
Now for the fun part! The end is near and you’re ready for that great idea to hit the store shelves. This can be the area that scares most invention makers because of the unknown success rate and risk involved. This is the part where real business and marketing comes into play, and for most inventors, this isn’t their area of expertise. As we cater to mostly home-inventors, it’s rare that they are all experts on this stuff. With their patents protecting them from another person snatching their idea, inventors need not worry their invention isn’t good enough. Generally, big companies won’t steal an idea until they know if it’s successful or not.
The best thing to do if you’re not business savvy is to research your competitors, study what they are doing and what they aren’t doing. Take notes. They key is to start small, make a few products and see how they sell. Gradually expand your customer base and see how much the demand goes up. If you’re American check out the UIA, they give advice to inventors just starting out who need guidance. We feel the key to being successful in the industry you’re entering into is to stay informed, do your research an stay up to date on any changes within your consumer base.
If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MAKO and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!